Ruby is the Birthstone for July. — The Ruby is, chemically, the same as the Sapphire except so far as it is affected by its coloring matter. Ruby ranks next to the Diamond in value. A fine specimen of the Oriental Ruby is rarer than even the Diamond itself. Anciently Ruby went by the name of carbuncle, as it does occasionally now.
It is a species of silex or quartz, and therefore participates in the natural hardness of that stone. As Ruby name indicates, it is red in color—a carmine−red—and a very beautiful ornament for the «ornamental sex». They are found in India, in Ceylon, in Czech Republic, and in Hungary.
OF ITS COLOR
The color of the Ruby, when perfect, is a fun carmine red, in which state it is known by the name of Spinel Ruby; when the tinge verges upon rather pale rose red, it is called Balais Ruby; when the red has a decided shade of orange, it usually goes by the name of Vermeil; when of a yellowish red, it is called Rubicelle: in other varieties, the red by mixture with blue, becomes crimson, violet, and finally indigo blue, which latter is sometimes so deep, as to be scarcely distinguished from black; sometimes, though rarely, a greenish blue is observable; these latter varieties scarcely belong to the Jeweler, but are called by the Mineralogist, Ceylaniteand Pleonaste.
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OF ITS HISTORY & FAMOUS RUBIES
The largest Ruby known is said to be in the Imperial Russian Crown, in which it is placed under the cross. It was bought for the Empress Anne in Pekin, for 120,000 rubles, by her ambassador to that city.
Tavernier gives drawings of and describes several remarkable Rubies he saw in the East.
First is Ruby that belonged to the King of Persia, nearly as large as an egg and of that shape, of deep color, and of unknown weight. It had been for many years in the treasury of that monarch.
The second figure is that of a Ruby sold as a Ruby to Giaferkan, uncle of the Great Mogul, for 95,000 rupees ($285,000 in those days), and presented by him to the Emperor.
A discharged old Jeweler of the king, haying found some opportunity of examining this Ruby, declared that Giaferkan had been deceived, that it was not a Ruby, and was not worth over 500 rupees. The king’s Jewelers were convened to decide upon the matter, and they declared their belief in its genuineness.
As in the whole Empire of the Great Mogul there was no person more skilled, it was believed, in the knowledge of precious stones than Shah Jehan, then detained a prisoner at Agra by his son, Aureng Zebe, the latter sent the stone to his father, begging his opinion. He confirmed the views of the old Jeweler, and said it was not worth more than 500 rupees. The stone haying been brought back to Aureng Zebe, it was returned to the merchant who sold it, and he was forced to disgorge the money he had received for it. This Ruby was of an egg-shape.
The next is a view of one weighing seventeen and a half carats, in the possession of the King of Visapour, of the shape of half au egg. It is well cut, and of the greatest beauty. It was bought in 1653, for 14,200 new pagodas, (about as many dollars).
We have then described one Ruby «weighing fifty and three-quarters carats, of the second water, uncut, and almond-shaped. It was offered at Banarous for 55,000 rupees».
Tavernier says that Rubies were so scarce in Asia that he found it profitable to take them thither from Europe to sell.
He says he found them so preciously guarded, that a merchant would never shew a Ruby, even if an insignificant one, unless you agreed to give him some trifling present, as a cap or belt, in case you did not buy.
He speaks of one weighing five carats, found in Bohemia (now Czech Republic), and presented by General Wallestein, Duke of Fridland, to the Viceroy of Hungary.
In the Green Vault at Dresden there is a pair of Ruby earrings, which have been valued at 24,000 whalers, though at present they would probably bring a much higher price, owing to these gems being greatly in fashion. The above sum would be about 18, 000 of our dollars (XIX century). The English Crown contains a large heart-shaped Ruby.
OF ITS MYSTERY, LEGENDS & HEALING PROPERTIES
Ludovicus Vartomaunus, a lying old Roman, says that the King of Pegu, in India, had a Ruby which could illuminate a dark room as brilliantly as could the sun!
Andreas Baccius says in his book, De Natura Gemmarum, that if danger approaches the wearer of a Ruby, it will turn black, and, upon the danger being past, resume its color again!
Nicols relates the following of Baccius and a Ruby he possessed enclosed in a gold ring:
«On the fifth of December, 1600, he was traveling with his wife, Catharina Adelmania, to Studgard, and in his travel he observed his Ruby to change its glory into obscuritie, whereupon he told his wife, and prognosticated that evil thereupon would ensue either to himself or her, which accordingly did; for not many days after his wife was taken with a mortal disease and died; after which he saith his Ruby of its own accord did again recover its former luster, glory, beauty, and splendor».
RUBY AS A MINERAL
Ruby’s primitive and most usual form, is the regular octohedron; it also presents the cuneiform octahedron, and a few other varieties; sometimes it occurs in rolled grains. In size Rubies very rarely exceeds eight or ten, carats; the planes of the crystals are smooth and brightly shining, with a vitreous luster, and usually exhibit a lamellar structure; the fracture is fiat conchoidal, and sometimes imperfectly foliated; the lighter colored varieties, when not foul or flawed, are transparent; the dark colored are semitransparent, or even only translucent on the edges.
Its hardness is superior to that of Quartz, but not equal to that of the Oriental Ruby, and the Spinel is considerably harder than the Pleonaste. Its specific gravity varies from 3.6 to 3.7. It is singly refractive, and is infusible without addition before the blowpipe.